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Merlin (sometimes known as Merlin, the Electronic Wizard) was a handheld electronic game first made by Parker Brothers in 1978. The game was invented by former NASA employee Bob Doyle, his wife Holly, and brother-in-law Wendl Thomis. Merlin is notable as one of the earliest and most popular handheld games, selling over 5 million units during its initial run, as well as one of the most long-lived, remaining popular throughout the 1980s. A version of the game was re-released in 2004 by the Milton Bradley Company.
Merlin took the form of a rectangular device about eight inches long and three inches wide. The play area of the game consisted of a matrix of 11 buttons; each button contained a red LED. The array was encased in a red plastic housing, bearing a slight resemblance to an overgrown touch-tone telephone. Four game-selection and control buttons were also placed at the bottom of the unit; a speaker took up the top section. Supporting electronics (including a simple microprocessor) were contained within the shell of the game. Parker Brothers later released Master Merlin with more games, and the rarer Split Second, where all games involve time with a more advanced display, having line segments around the dots. Both of these share the same general case shape, and came out a few years after Merlin.